Areas of Expertise
My belief is that teaching should have both intellectual rigor and practical significance. It is important for my students to learn how to think sociologically, but I also expect that they be challenged to use that knowledge to bring about positive social change. I decidedly shape my courses with an underlying theme of social justice and social responsibility and charge students with the task of applying what is learned in class to their everyday situations. The substantive content of my courses often deals with social inequalities that exist in US racial and ethnic relations. Having students confront their subtle, yet insidious, biases and stereotypes about others is not simply for the purpose of exposing personal flaws, but rather to illustrate the power of social structure and make salient the invisible systems of privilege and power that benefit some while disadvantaging others. I emphasize historical and contemporary social movements to provide practical steps toward improving both the self and society.
My pedagogy intentionally includes the use of modern technologies and I aim to foster an active learning environment. I regularly make use of the Internet, audio and video resources, and creative arts in order to provide unique opportunities for students to understand sociological concepts, theories, and methods that are relevant to their day-to-day lives. While I enjoy and even expect to lecture, in an age of high-tech devices that encourage multi-tasking, I believe that effective teaching must take into account new and innovative ways that learners access information. By designing collaborative working groups and structured activities my students develop transferable social skills and gain hands-on experience as budding social scientists. My hope is that as I take pedagogical risks to be innovative, my students will be equally, if not more, ambitious in their approach to furthering the discipline through groundbreaking research and cutting-edge methodologies.
Lastly, I believe that mentorship is vital to the personal and professional success of my students. I am motivated by the adage, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I have had students to change their major to Sociology because of the mentorship that I was able to provide. In all that I do as an educator, my overall goal is to prepare students to not only be successful in life, but to be significant.